Missouri Nursing License Requirements
The Missouri Board of Nursing licenses practical nurses, registered nurses, and nurse practitioners who wish to practice nursing in Missouri. The route to nurse licensure begins with a diploma or degree program and advances with further education and opportunities for advanced practice. Learn more about earning a license in nursing in Missouri by selecting one of the categories below.
» How to become a licensed practical nurse (requires completion of a training program)
» How to become a registered nurse (requires an associate’s or bachelor’s degree)
» How to become a nurse practitioner (requires a master’s degree)
5 Steps to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Missouri
1. Complete a Program in Practical Nursing.
The Missouri Board of Nursing requires prospective practical nurses to successfully complete a program in practical nursing.1 Programs in Missouri must be approved by the Missouri Board of Nursing to qualify graduates for licensure.1 A list of approved programs for practical nursing is available on the Missouri Board of Nursing website.2 Graduate pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination are also available.3 An official transcript demonstrating graduation should be submitted to the Missouri Board of Nursing immediately on graduation to streamline licensure.4
2. Take an Approved Course in IV Therapy, If Desired.
Licensed practical nurses in Missouri can become certified in IV therapy by completing a course approved by the Missouri Board of Nursing and an eight-hour practicum experience.5 A list of approved IV therapy courses is available.6 An LPN/IV Therapy Course Certification Listing must be submitted to the Missouri Board of Nursing within 60 days of completing the IV therapy course.7
3. Complete the Missouri Criminal Background Check.
Missouri requires prospective practical nurses to undergo a criminal background check. To complete this check, candidates should visit the Missouri Automated Criminal History Portal and register for a background check using the registration number “0001.”4
After registration applicants will receive a TCN number, which should be written down or printed out.4 Applicants must take this TCN number to a Missouri Automated Criminal History fingerprinting site, which can be located through 3M Cogent, a third-party fingerprinting service retained by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.8
Candidates should take the TCN number and government-issued photo identification to the fingerprinting site to have fingerprint impressions taken. Candidates must be sure to request a receipt for the fingerprinting to submit with the application for licensure.4 Be aware that visiting a fingerprinting site without registering online for fingerprints first will result in longer wait times at the fingerprinting site.4
4. Submit the Application for a Practical Nursing License.
Candidates for practical nurse licensure should submit the Application for License as a Licensed Practical Nurse by Examination to the Missouri Board of Nursing. The Missouri Board of Nursing recommends that all application documents be submitted no later than three months following graduation from a practical nursing program.4 Be aware that in order to qualify for a license or license renewal candidates must have paid all state-level income taxes and must be able to demonstrate that all required state income tax returns have been filed for the past three years; compliance is demonstrated by providing a Social Security Number on the application for licensure.4
Note that the candidate’s signature must be notarized, and a signed photograph of the candidate measuring two inches by two inches should be included with the application.4 In addition, Section VI of the form should be signed by the administrator for the nursing program completed and submitted to the Missouri Board of Nursing in a separate sealed envelope.4
In Missouri, a graduate of an approved practical nursing program may practice under supervision for up to 90 days after graduation or until the results of the National Council Licensure Examination are received, whichever occurs first.4 Nurses who practice beyond the approved timeline may be denied approval to test and obtain a nursing license.4
5. Register for and Take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses.
All practical nurses in Missouri must take and achieve a passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).4 The NCLEX-PN process begins by registering with the third-party test administrator used by the Missouri Board of Nursing, Pearson VUE.9 Following registration and a review of the application materials, an Authorization to Test will be issued that permits the candidate to schedule and attempt the NCLEX-PN with Pearson VUE.4 Candidates may expect to receive test results within two weeks of sitting for the exam.4
4 Steps to Become a Registered Nurse in Missouri
1. Complete a Program in Professional Nursing.
Registered nurses must first complete a program in professional or registered nursing.1 The program must result in a diploma or a degree at the associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s level.1 Candidates should request that an official transcript for the program completed be sent to the Missouri Board of Nursing immediately upon graduation to streamline the licensing process.10
2. Complete the Missouri Criminal Background Check.
Prospective registered nurses must complete a criminal background check to be eligible for licensure. The background check process is begun by visiting the Missouri Automated Criminal History Portal.11 At this site candidates will register for the background check using the registration number “0001.”10 During registration applicants will receive a TCN number. The TCN number and a government-issued photo ID should be taken to a criminal history fingerprinting site, a list of which can be found on the website of the criminal history background check provider used by the Missouri Board of Nursing, 3M Cogent.8
Note that visiting a fingerprinting site without registering for a background check using the online portal first may cause long wait times at the fingerprinting site.10 After the fingerprint impressions are taken, candidates should request a fingerprinting receipt to be submitted with the licensing application.10
3. Submit the Application for a License in Registered Nursing.
The Application for License as a Registered Nurse is the form to complete to request a license in registered nursing.10 To ensure timely issuance of a license the Missouri Board of Nursing recommends that all application materials be submitted no more than three months following graduation from a nursing program.10 Note that to be eligible for an initial license or license renewal, a candidate must be current with all state-level income taxes and must have filed all required state income tax returns for the preceding three years.10 Compliance with this statute is checked using the applicant’s Social Security Number from the application documents.10
The applicant must have their signature on the application documents notarized and should include a personal photograph two inches by two inches in size with the application.10 Section VI of the application form must be signed and sealed by a nursing program administrator.10
In Missouri, a graduate of an approved program in professional or registered nursing is permitted to practice as a registered nurse under supervision for a maximum of 90 days following graduation or until the results of the National Council Licensure Examination are received, whichever occurs first.10 Nurses who practice beyond the approved timeline may be denied approval to test and obtain a nursing license.10
4. Register for and Take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.
The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) must be passed in order for a candidate to be licensed in Missouri.10 Candidates for licensure should register with Pearson VUE, a third-party test administrator, to take the NCLEX-RN.9 Following review of the application materials, an Authorization to Test will be issued to permit the candidate to schedule and take the exam.10 Test results are typically released within two weeks of the exam date.10
5 Steps to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Missouri
1. Obtain a Registered Nurse License.
Nurse practitioners must maintain a current and active license in registered nursing in Missouri or a compact state in order to obtain a nurse practitioner’s license.1 Prospective nurse practitioners should therefore meet all requirements for registered nurse licensure, including obtaining a passing score on the NCLEX-RN.
2. Complete a Master’s Degree in Advanced Practice Nursing.
To qualify for a nurse practitioner license in Missouri, candidates must have completed a master’s degree program in advanced practice nursing that includes a clinical specialty area.1 The program must also include at least 500 clinical practice hours supervised by program faculty.1
3. Obtain National Certification as a Nurse Practitioner.
Certification from a national certifying body in a nurse practitioner specialty area is a prerequisite for nurse practitioner licensure in Missouri.1 The Missouri Board of Nursing recognizes the certification programs approved by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN), a list of which can be accessed through the NCSBN.12 Note that an applicant for licensure as a nurse practitioner must send the Authorization to Release Confidential Information form to the organization at which certification is earned as part of the license application process.13
4. Complete the Application Process for Nurse Practitioners.
Prospective nurse practitioners should complete and submit to the Missouri Board of Nursing the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Application.14 The application form includes the Authorization to Release Confidential Information form that is required to be sent to the national certifying body for the release of certification information. To support the application for nurse practitioner license, prospective nurse practitioners must be sure to:13
- Fully complete the application for licensure, including signatures and notarization;
- Send an Authorization to Release Confidential Information to the national certifying organization
- Provide a copy of a current certification card, which must include an expiration date
- Provide official transcripts from the master’s degree program completed
- Pay all applicable licensing fees.
Once licensing requirements are met, the Missouri Board of Nursing will issue a Document of Recognition that allows the nurse practitioner to practice.15 The Missouri Board of Nursing may issue, at its discretion, permission for temporary practice if all requirements have been met save national certification pending the availability of a national certifying exam.1 If granted, such permission is only valid for a maximum of four months from the date of a prospective nurse practitioner’s graduation from a master’s degree program.1
5. Obtain Controlled Substance Prescriptive Authority, If Desired.
For nurse practitioners to obtain prescriptive authority for controlled substances in Missouri, it is necessary to complete a pharmacology course and/or program as well as 1,000 hours of clinical practice and 300 hours of preceptorial experience in prescribing.13 The pharmacology course or program must consist of three credit hours at the post-baccalaureate level within the last five years or 45 continuing education credits in pharmacology within the last five years.13 To demonstrate compliance with these requirements nurse practitioners should submit an official final transcript or letter from the advanced pharmacology program, a Statement of Preceptorial Experience form, and a Statement of Practice in APRN Category form.13
Nurse practitioners must also be prescribing under controlled substance delegation from a licensed physician. Therefore, a Statement of Controlled Substance Delegation form must also be submitted to the Missouri Board of Nursing.13 All required forms can be accessed on the Advanced Practice Nursing section of the Missouri Board of Nursing website.16 Note that the approval of the Missouri Board of Nursing and a Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (FDA) control number must be obtained before controlled substances may be prescribed by a nurse practitioner.1
Missouri Nursing Associations
Nursing associations focused on the practice of nursing in Missouri can provide opportunities in networking, professional openings, and education to current and future Missouri nurses.
- Missouri Association of School Nurses
- Missouri Nurses Association
- Missouri Nursing Students Association
- Missouri State Association of Licensed Practical Nurses, Inc.
- St. Louis Nurses in Advanced Practice
Missouri Nursing Salary
|Occupation||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses||15,810||$39,600|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2016.17,18,19,20
Job Search Advice
Be active in your student nurses association. Upon graduation and licensure join your state nurses association. RNs such as yourself are in a position to make change happen by joining your state nurses association. If RNs came together we would be heard and policies and procedures would change; however, at this time, our voices are not loud enough with only 2-3% of RNs belonging to their professional association. Networking with fellow nurses who value the professional association is so important. State nurses associations have been and continue to advocate for RNs to be able to practice to the full extent of our education and competency. There are many opportunities to get involved and stay updated by being a member.”
-Jill Kliethermes MSN, RN, FNP-BC is Chief Executive Officer of Midwest Multistate and Division Leader at the Missouri Nurses Association.
1. Missouri Code of State Regulations: Title 20, Division 2200 – State Board of Nursing
2. Missouri Board of Nursing: Missouri Approved Programs of Practical Nursing
3. Missouri Board of Nursing: Missouri Approved Practical Nursing Program Pass Rates
4. Missouri Board of Nursing: LPN Examination, Application, and Instruction Letter
5. Missouri Board of Nursing: Frequently Asked Questions – Education
6. Missouri Board of Nursing: Approved LPN / IV Therapy Courses in Missouri
7. Missouri Board of Nursing: LPN / IV Therapy Course Certification Listing
8. Gemalto: MACHS Fingerprint Locations
9. Pearson VUE: The NCLEX Examination
10. Missouri Board of Nursing: RN Examination, Application, and Instruction Letter
11. Missouri Automated Criminal History Portal
12. National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.: APRN Certification Programs
13. Missouri Board of Nursing: APRN Application Instructions
14. Missouri Board of Nursing: Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Application
15. Missouri Board of Nursing: Nursing and Collaborative Practice
16. Missouri Board of Nursing: APRN Application, Forms, and Instructions
17. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Nursing Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes311014.htm
18. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292061.htm
19. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Registered Nurses: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm
20. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Nurse Practitioners: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291171.htm